Florida Probate Statute 735.203: Petition for Summary Administration
Generally, in order for the estate of a decedent to be settled and the assets distributed to his (or her) beneficiaries or heirs, the estate must go through a process called administration that is managed by a probate court appointed personal representative and is overseen by the probate court. However, in some cases an estate can be settled through an expedited process referred to as summary administration. This process does not require the appointment of a personal representative. It is initiated by the filing of a petition by an interested party. To learn more about the summary administration process, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 735.203- Petition for summary administration, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have the experience, skill, and knowledge to make sure your interests are protected throughout the administration process.Summary Administration Process
Summary administration is a process through which an estate of a decedent can be settled and assets distributed without the estate having to go through the much longer, much more complex formal administration process. The summary administration process is available under the following circumstances:
- The estate has assets that do not exceed $75,000.
- The decedent has been dead for over 2 years.
- The will (if any) does not require formal administration.
Unlike formal administration, summary administration does not require the appointment of a personal representative and the issuance of letters of administration. Summary administration is initiated by the filing of a petition for summary administration.Petition for Summary Administration
The petitioner can be anyone who has an interest in the estate. Oftentimes the petitioner is someone who is listed as a beneficiary under the will or the person who was nominated in the decedent’s will to serve as personal representative. According to FL. Stat, section 735.203- Petition for summary administration, if there is a surviving spouse, he or she must sign the petition for summary administration. Any beneficiaries must also sign the petition, unless the beneficiary will receive a full distributive share of the estate under the proposed distribution. Notice of the petition must be served upon any beneficiaries not joining in the petition. If any such person who is required to sign the petition is deceased, a minor, or is incapacitated, then that person’s personal representative, surviving spouse, guardian, grantee, or transferee must sign the petition or be served notice of the petition.
The petition must include the name and address of the petitioner as well as a statement of the petitioner’s interest in the estate. The petitioner must include details about the decedent, including his (or her) name, last known address, date of death, and the county and state in which the decedent was domiciled at death. If the decedent has a surviving spouse, his or her name must be listed in the petition as well as the names of the beneficiaries and their relationship to the decedent. If the decedent left a will, the petition for summary judgment must include a statement that it does not direct formal administration.
A critical part of the petition is the details regarding the value of the estate. Thus, the petition must include a statement that the value of the assets meets the requirements of summary administration and that the claims of creditors do not exceed $75,000.00, or that the decedent has been dead for over 2 years. For more information about the definition of probate property and which property must be included in determining the value of the estate, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyer
Finally, the petition must include a statement that the petitioner is unaware of any unrevoked wills and codicils of decedent and details of the proposed distribution of all probate assets.
The court will review the petition. If the petition meets the legal requirements of summary administration, the court will issue an Order of Summary Administration. This releases the decedent's property to the estate's beneficiaries. No executor or personal representative is required to serve.
As an experienced estate administration attorney in Fort Lauderdale will explain, summary administration can be take as little as a week. Typically, it takes 1-2 months, while formal administration typically takes up to a year.Related Statutory Provisions
- Summary administration; nature of proceedings: § 735.201, Fla. Stat.
- May be administered in the same manner as other estates: § 735.202, Fla. Stat.
- Filing of petition: § 735.2055, Fla. Stat.
- Summary administration distribution: § 735.206, Fla. Stat.
- Notice to creditors: § 735.2063, Fla. Stat.
- A petition for summary administration may be filed by any beneficiary or person nominated as personal representative in the decedent’s will offered for probate. The petition must be signed and verified by the surviving spouse, if any, and any beneficiaries except that the joinder in a petition for summary administration is not required of a beneficiary who will receive a full distributive share under the proposed distribution. However, formal notice of the petition must be served on a beneficiary not joining in the petition.
- If a person named in subsection (1) has died, is incapacitated, or is a minor, or has conveyed or transferred all interest in the property of the estate, then, as to that person, the petition must be signed and verified by:
- The personal representative, if any, of a deceased person or, if none, the surviving spouse, if any, and the beneficiaries;
- The guardian of an incapacitated person or a minor; or
- The grantee or transferee of any of them shall be authorized to sign and verify the petition instead of the beneficiary or surviving spouse.
- If each trustee of a trust that is a beneficiary of the estate of the deceased person is also a petitioner, formal notice of the petition for summary administration shall be served on each qualified beneficiary of the trust as defined in s. 736.0103 unless joinder in, or consent to, the petition is obtained from each qualified beneficiary of the trust.
Summary administration is an alternative to formal administration that is available for some estates. To learn more about when this option is available and the filing requirements, contact an experienced estate administration attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience working closely with beneficiaries, personal representatives, and other interested parties in all aspects of estate administration, and understand the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 735.203- Petition for summary administration. We can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.